We all remember the horror of stumbling over Shakespeare’s texts in school English classes, but what do the plays sound like when not spoken aloud by embarrassed teenagers?

The British Library has released a CD featuring scenes and speeches from Shakespeare’s work as he would have heard them. The selection of speeches includes Hamlet’s “to be, or not to be” and Henry V’s “Once more unto the breach, dear friends”, with scenes featured from Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth and Othello.

The recording reveals new ways of looking at Shakespeare’s work, with lines that were meant to rhyme actually rhyming and puns that don’t work in modern English revealed. You can listen to some clips from the recording here. People have said the accents sound Cornish, do you agree?

Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation CD is available from the British Library shop.